- Commissioner Colette Honorable of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced Friday that she will step down when her term expires in June.
- The Obama appointee's decision could leave FERC with only one commissioner — Acting Chair Cheryl LaFleur — if the U.S. Senate does not confirm other regulators to the five-member agency. FERC requires at least three commissioners to make major policy decisions and a date for confirmations remains unclear.
- President Trump is expected to nominate energy lawyer Kevin McIntyre, longtime Senate aide Neil Chatterjee, and Pennsylvania utility regulator Robert Powelson to serve on the commission. To replace Honorable, Trump would have to nominate a Democrat, since no more than three commissioners can be from one party.
Commissioner Honorable announced her decision to step down from FERC on Twitter Friday afternoon.
Please see the following announcement regarding my tenure at FERC. pic.twitter.com/rI00T27AuC— Colette D. Honorable (@CHonorableFERC) April 28, 2017
Honorable was confirmed by the Senate in late 2014 to serve a term expiring in June. Prior to that, she served on the Arkansas Public Service Commission since 2007, leading the agency as chair from 2011 to 2015.
Honorable was also president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) focusing on pipeline safety, reliability and fuel diversity during her tenure.
Honorable's departure could leave the federal regulatory body with only one commissioner — Acting Chair LaFleur, who Trump tapped for the post in January.
FERC cannot make any significant policy decisions without at least three commissioners confirmed, and LaFleur underscored the effect of the vacancies in a speech at the National Press Club last week.
"We normally issue about a hundred orders a month, and since losing quorum more than two months ago commission staff has been able to get you 58 orders under the new or existing delegating authority," she said. "About half of those we have to come back and fill our subject for further commission orders. So we're already building up quite a backlog and it will only continue to grow the longer this goes on."